You are here.
What remains of what was
matters less and less as
distance replaces the time
between then and this.
That was then.
This is now.
original content and images ©j.g. lewis
A thought du jour, my daily breath includes collected and conceived observations, questions of life, fortune cookie philosophies, reminders, messages of peace and simplicity, unsolicited advice, inspirations, quotes and words that got me thinking. They may get you thinking too . . .
What has been heard, what has been said, after 24 or 27 months give or take? More or less, what was said (even wished) was mainly, and above all else, that we wanted things to return to normal.
We were longing for the everyday day-to-day, the regular way, sort of; or at least, some semblance of such. We wanted, we said, to be with people again, doing the things we usually did.
We wanted to see smiles, again, on stranger’s faces, we said from behind our masks and wanting so much for our lips to be read as much as our expressions of joy. Or reality. Or anything other than what it was for the 26 or 25 months of what came to be.
We weren’t asking for much, really, or nothing any more spectacular than what life grants us on any given day. We wanted the ordinary, if nothing else.
What we have known is not over. How we are living, coping, or struggling, is not the same as it was eight months, or 11 months, back (or 25 or 23). It was a long time, and longer still will be this shadow of a virus that has hung over us (more than a footnote, and still not quite a chapter) in this never-ending story.
What was, or what is, close to some kind of normal, feels closer now. Dare we say it? We wished it, didn’t we, and here we are now more than two years later, finally gathering in parks and parades, galleries, shopping malls, and back at the office.
Masked or unmasked, we might not be as close as we were before, but we are working on it. Aren’t we? Can’t we now see, or hear and experience life, a little bit like we did before?
Yes, we want more, but right now this is as good as it gets for those of us still cautious, yet relieved, that we are here to see what’s going on.
It is, or seems to be, a return to the usual, the normal, and the everyday ways. For some of us it will never happen, for many of us it will never be, but for all of us there is a new (or another) opportunity for ordinary.
The ordinary: after all we have been through, that may even be better than it sounds.
I'm like a pencil;
Still I write.
is a writer/photographer in Toronto.
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by Abena Buahene
I grew up believing there was something magical about Sunday mornings.
Snuggled deep in my featherbed as frost from a Canadian winter framed the window, or laying on top of a crisp sheet and breathing the scent of Freesias that had hitched a ride on a Mediterranean breeze to my bedroom, Sunday mornings, no matter where in the world we lived, always had their own predictable and comforting rhythm.
I would lay there in that delicious state of being awake, but not quite ready to jump out of bed and begin the day. Unlike the other days of the week where mornings were about getting to school, work, or Saturday wash day, Sunday mornings were about my mother’s ritual.
Always I was quite happy to lay there and let ritual unfold.
The coffee grinder was the first sign that my mother was up and about. Now, you have to know this noise was reserved for only Sunday morning coffee or when my parents entertained. Instant coffee was the order of the day through the week, but my mother (as with her mother) was a great believer that coffee made from freshly-ground beans was Sunday worthy.
Soon the kettle whistle would blow and then, ever so gently, the smell of brewed coffee would waft from the kitchen, down the hallway, to my room. The first part of the ritual was complete.
I would next hear the sound of the mixer scrapping the sides of the brown plastic bowl, the one with a chip near the pouring spout. On Sundays, my mother would make something special for breakfast like blueberry-banana pancakes, raisin scones or zucchini muffins. If she was up especially very early, she’d bake Finnish cardamom bread to be served with her homemade strawberry jam. The sound of the oven door closing signalled that the second part of the ritual was done. By this time, my growling stomach was telling me it would soon be time to get up.
The opening and closing of cupboard doors, rattling of dishes and cutlery, combined with the smell of baking, completed the ritual. It would now only be a matter of minutes before my mother, sitting on the edge of my bed, would be tousling my hair and telling me it was “time to start the day”.
We all have certain sounds, scents, sights, or sayings that evoke memories. Some memories bring on a smile, laughter, or just that plain old feeling of happiness. Others make us tear-up, bring on grief, anger or frustration. This Mother’s Day will be the seventh one where my father, sister and I will place Freesias on my mother’s grave. We will each be lost for a few moments in our private thoughts of remembrance; her kindness to strangers; her loyalty to friends; her pride in her profession; her joy of picking raspberries and, above all, her utter devotion to family.
My mother’s Sunday morning ritual. Even now, in my dreams, I hear the coffee grinder, smell freshly-brewed coffee, and feel her hand on my head.
Sunday sounds and scents, a perfect reminder of my mother’s love; predictable and comforting.
Abena Buahene is a daughter, mother, sister, and street photographer who lives and loves in Toronto. She enjoys baking and still treats her father to many of her mother’s favourite recipes.